Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday 3/12/21 Farmington River Report: back to normal March conditions

Our store hours through MarchMonday through Sunday, 8am-5pm, 7 days a week. When entering the store please try to maintain a 6ft distance from other customers if possible, and as per the governor's decree you must wear a mask/face covering of some sort inside the store. We are happy to deliver curbside if you are uncomfortable shopping inside. Just give us a call.

Opening Day update:
As of Thursday March 4th, Governor Lamont announced the early opening of trout fishing season to help alleviate overcrowding during COVIDWhat does this mean for us on the Farmington River? It’s business as usual here, as we were already open to Catch & Release (C&R) from the dam in Riverton 21 miles downstream to the Rt 177 bridge in Unionville, and that section remains C&R until the traditional Opening Day date of April 10 at 6am. All trout streams with TMAs remain Catch & Release until April 10 this year, and on all trout streams that are not TMAs and fall under general regulation you are now allowed to keep a daily limit of trout.

The river was stocked roughly 2 weeks ago, both upstream & downstream of the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R)- the upper stocking section is the 4 miles from Whittemore up to the dam in Riverton, and the lower section is from just below the Rt 219 bridge in New Hartford downstream through Canton to the Collinsville dams.

The nicer fish keep making appearances here and there for lucky (or skilled!) anglers: top pic is a two hander by Brett Howell, guide by Derrick Kirkpatrick. Second pic is Steve Hogan with a nice holdover from yesterday, and third is a perfect wild laid on Mike Querfeld’s net- he had a day of multiple big fish yesterday. Last pic is Chris Tapia, another client of Derrick, with a handful of really nice trout.

Once again the weekend is at hand. One more mild day today (Friday- 58 degrees & sunny), and then back to average mid March weather starting Saturday with highs averaging in the 40s and nights mostly below freezing for the next 10 days. Saturday looks like the better day to be out this weekend. The Still River shot up due to snowmelt, making the river downstream of that moderately high (just under 600cfs total flow as I write this Friday morning) but fishable- snowmelt will also drop water temps FYI. Above the Still River up in Riverton (Rt 20 bridge to the dam, about 2 miles) the Farmington is unchanged and medium in flow at a little over 200cfs. With the flow bump think some bigger nymphs & slowly/deeply fished streamers. “Junk Flies”(Squirmy Worms, Mops, Egg Flies, and Green Weenies)are definitely in play now, and also Cased Caddis get knocked into the drift in March/April in these conditions. Streamers can be effective too if you get them deep and fish them s-l-o-w-l-y. Having said that, experiment with retrieves because even in cold water there will still be days when the trout prefer a faster moving streamer. Top March streamer colors would include olive, brown, and white. Streamer action has varied considerably from day to day, with nymphsgenerally being moreconsistent. But…. steamers will often pull the biggest fish.Early Black Stones have been out & about, and before this flow bump some trout were actually rising to them at moments if you were in the right places. Currently subsurface is generally the way to go. Most (but not all) bugs that are currently hatching remain small: Early Black Stones #12-16, Winter/Summer Caddis #20-24, Midges #20-28, and Tiny Winter Black Stoneflies #18-24.

We just received a batch of the new Hardy Ultralite & Ultralite LL (Euro) rods. While I have notyet personally fished them, I got to wiggle them and they feel amazingand I’m predicting they will be big sellers in 2021. Euro specific rods received: Ultralite LL series10’ 2” #2, 11’ 2” #2, 10’ 8” #0/2. 9’ 9” #3, and 10’ 8” #3. In the standard Ultralitethe 9’ #4, 9’ #6, 9’ #7, 10’ #4, and 10’ #5- we already hadthe 9’ #5s in the rack. Big orders of Simms, Korkers, Fishpond, Scott, Ross, Lamson arrived this week.We have also received large orders of Nature’s Spirit, Wapsi, and Hareline fly tying material orders recently. 

The new T&T Contact II series (10' #2, 10' #3, 10' 9" #3, 11' 2" #3, 10' 9" #4 & 10' 8" #6) are now available. New improved materials, new guide spacing, down-locking reel seats are standard now, and a new fighting butt design that is more comfortable. Recovery is noticeably better/crisper, and the actions "tweaked" for more big fish playing power, plus the newer materials they use to make the rods inherently store more energy and give the rod more power for casting and playing big trout. The blanks are incredibly strong and much much harder to break. These rods are easy to cast, will give you more distance, and they deliver with improved accuracy. Retail is $825.

The Farmington is currently at a moderately high (due to snowmelt bumping up the Still River) at a total flow of 573cfs through the permanent TMA/Catch & Release (C&R) area (historical normal total flow for today is 403cfs), and has averaged in the mid 30s to low 40s for water temps lately- depending upon the weather, river section, and time of day. Incoming cooler weather (highs 40s, lows 20s-30s) will lower water temps starting this weekend. Riverton is medium at 218cfs from the dam on the West Branch, and the Still River is adding in another 375cfs below it’s junction. AM Riverton water temp was 36.5 degrees this morning, water temps usually rise in the afternoons- it hit 40 yesterday afternoon. Downstream water temps can be higher or lower than this depending upon lows, highs, sunshine, and time of day. East Branch is currently releasing no water into the river. 

Early Black Stoneflies #12-16: afternoons
Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24: pupa & winged adults, typically early/mid AM
Blue Wing Olives #18-24
-Midges #20-32: anytime (365 days a year)
-Tiny Winter Black Stoneflies (Capnia) #18-24: afternoons
-Parachute Adams #1
2-24: different sizes imitate many different bugs including Midges & BWOs

Darker Nymphs in brown or black #12-16
Early Stoneflies #14: brown, black- most active in afternoons
-Egg Flies #10-18: assorted colors (yellow, pinks, oranges or mixed colors)
Junk Flies (Mops, Eggs, Squirmies/San Juan Worms, Green Weenies)
-Midges/Zebra Midges#16-22: black, olive, red
-Caddis Larva (olive to green) #12-18
-Cased Caddis #10-14
-Blue Wing Olive#16-2
0: various patterns with & without hot spots/flash
BigStoneflies #8-12: golden/yellow, brown, black- oftenworks when smaller stuff doesn’t
-Frenchies & Pheasant Tails #14-20: various sizes imitate Mayfly nymphs like Blue Wing Olives
-Antoine's Perdigons #14-20: black, brown, olive
-Attractor Nymphs #14-20: anything flashy, gaudy, or with a hot spot, Rainbow Warrior, Blue Lightning, Miller's Victim, Triple Threat, 

Soft-Hackles/Wet Flies:
Assorted Patterns #10-18: Hare's Ear, Partridge & Orange/Green/Yellow, Partridge & Flash, Starling & Herl, Leadwing Coachman, March Brown, Partridge & Pheasant Tail

-BMAR Yellow Matuka #6
-Zuddler #4-8: olive, yellow, white, brown, black
-Complex Twist Bugger & Mini version #2-6: assorted colors 
-Sculp Snack #8 (George Daniel pattern) 
-Home Invader #2-6- tan, black, white, yellow 
-Woolly Buggers #2-14 (black, olive, white, brown, tan)
-Rio's Precious Metal #4 (Kreelex copper, olive)
-JJ Special/Autumn Splendor/Tequeely #4-8
-Matuka #4-8 (yellow, olive, brown)

Report by Torrey Collins